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Press Release

Press Conference To Follow Sentencing Of Pair From West Virginia In Kidnapping Of Elderly Victims

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Tennessee

Knoxville, Tenn. – Joshua Small, 52, and Joni Amber Johnson, 36, both of Princeton, West Virginia, are scheduled for sentencing on January 27, 2020, for their roles in a conspiracy to assault, kidnap and rob elderly victims  The sentencing hearing is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. before the Honorable Chief Judge Pamela Reeves in the United States Courthouse in Knoxville.

From May 2018 to July 2018, Small and Johnson went on a spree of armed home invasions and kidnappings throughout West Virginia, Virginia, and East Tennessee.  Small and Johnson targeted the homes of elderly victims, forcing entry into their residences, holding victims at gunpoint, and binding their hands and feet.  Small and Johnson would then ransack the homes, stealing jewelry, valuables, heirlooms, and cash.

The home invasions were noteworthy for the egregious amount of violence directed towards the victims.  In a home invasion in Dandridge, Tennessee, Small struck a 72-year-old male victim in the neck, bound his hands and feet with power cords, and shoved him down a flight of stairs into the basement.  During a home invasion in Princeton, West Virginia, the two surreptitiously entered the home of an 88-year-old woman, holding her at gunpoint and ripping off her Life Alert necklace.  Small then struck her in the head, knocking her unconscious and causing a substantial injury before fleeing the home with her pocket book.  In Jefferson County, Tennessee, Small and Johnson forced their way into an 81-year-old man’s home, struck him in the head and neck, bound his hands and feet, gagged him, robbed him of $3,200 and fled.  In total, Small and Johnson attacked, terrorized, kidnapped and robbed seven elderly victims.

Immediately following the sentencing hearing in this matter, U.S. Attorney J. Douglas Overbey and FBI Special Agent in Charge Joseph Carrico will make a statement and take questions from the media outside the Courthouse.

Assistant United States Attorneys Alan Kirk and Kevin Quencer represented the United States at trial and will continue to do so at sentencing.



Rachelle Barnes
Public Information Officer
(865) 545-4167

Updated January 24, 2020

Elder Justice